|Separated in Death|
Two heads are better than one, and Iranian Siamese Twins Laleh and Ladan
Bijani clearly agreed, making the decision to undergo separation surgery, which
yesterday cost their lives. An international team of doctors put their heads
together in Singapore to do the operation, but in the end there were too many
shared blood vessels between the twins' brains, which shared the same skull
cavity, and both died from massive blood loss.
A sad day for their families, and a powerful reminder of the limitations of
modern medicine, but also a powerful message about personal freedom. Clearly
the twins were aware of the dangers of the operation, but made the decision to
take that risk. Why? Because they were sick of compromising on everything from
when to get up in the morning, when to eat and even what career to follow.
Clearly they wanted to be individuals, to make their own decisions, and to
lead their own lives. Having to live their life in a collective, even a
collective of two, was unbearable for them. It was not that either of them
disliked their twin, they just wanted to be able to make decisions on their
own, even if it meant taking a very dangerous risk.
The twins were unable to get the surgery performed in their native Iran,
because doctors could have been charged with murder if the operation failed.
However in Singapore, a country not normally associated with personal freedom,
they had the right to take that risk, and to make their decision instead of
having the government make it for them.
Sadly their decision cost them their lives, and doubtless collectivists
everywhere will use their deaths to claim that society, not the individual
concerned is the appropriate authority to make such decisions. The fact that
the increased information about the risks is now available to everyone
(including other Siamese twins), and the fact that the desire for personal
freedom is so basic and so strong as to make people take those risks, will be
collectively ignored in the rush to the middle.
The old adage 'give me liberty or give me death' seems as
pertinent now as it ever has been.